feature tantalizing exhibits that tell Central Oregon history in detail …  

    … and houses the museum’s research library, community room and new exhibits.  

    Wind your way through exhibits, discover how Crook County has changed …      
  • LIVING TRADITIONS traces native peoples …

    … that have shared the history of Crook County.  

Welcome to Bowman Museum

We exist to inspire, entertain, educate and involve our local community, as well as visitors from all over the world, in the stewardship of our unique history.

We serve Crook County residents and Central Oregon visitors by offering new exhibits every year. We also feature exciting speakers, area tours, historical and genealogical research assistance, annual celebrations, regular visitation hours, newspaper articles and quarterly publications.

What’s Happening

This Just In …

Third Street in Prineville taken in 1938

Third Street in Prineville taken in 1938



IronAfter the invention of the sadiron and before the luxury of the electric steam iron was a curious time in history when the gasoline iron was used. Recently the Bowman Museum acquired one of these little gems from donor Robert Templeton, who says it was used by Luella Templeton.

This particular gas iron was made by the Akron Lamp Company for Montgomery Ward department store. It was patented in 1936, although others were already in existence, the patent was for the fuel tank shape that allowed the iron to rest upright, and the convenience of a built in air pump. The iron operated by unscrewing the big knob at the end of the handle and pouring white gas such as kerosene down the tube which emptied into the tank.

Once filled the big knob was tightened and the little knob was loosened, and pumped several times to prime the fuel. The iron was lit with amatch at the base and in less than five minutes it was ready to go. Although gas irons had their advantages over sad-irons which were heavy, dirty, and often made with toxic substances like asbestos, they weren’t without complaint. In my research I found a recounting from a woman who remembers using an iron exactly like this but always stood by the back door when using the device. She explained that her practice was to toss her iron into the back yard when it caught on fire. She said it happened “many a time.”


Museum Info

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246 North Main Street,
Prineville, Oregon 97754


Tues. – Fri.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat. 11 – 4 p.m.

(Memorial Day thru Labor Day)
Mon. – Fri.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat. & Sun
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Closed major holidays & January


Research Library Hours
Tues. & Thurs. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Special hours by appointment

Staff Contact: (click to email)

Museum Staff:

Gordon Gillespie, Museum Director

Steve Lent, Museum Historian

Sarah Baylinson, Collections Manager

Eloise Brummer, Collections Assistant & General Info

Bonnie Williams, Saturday Attendant